Top Picks: Seafood restaurants in Penang
The best seafood places are not pretty but judge them not because the mouth-watering dishes that come out of their kitchens are incomparable, as Su Aziz discovers.
Ong Cheng Huat, Bagan Lallang
Known for their fresher than fresh toddy that’s harvested daily from the coconut trees grown on the premises, this place is also good for their steamed fish and mussels but it’s the crispy, thin prawn fritters that are totally addictive. Unlike most seafood restaurants around Penang that opens at dinnertime, they only do lunch and closed by 5.30pm.
What we like here: The paper-thin crispy fritters.
Sunshine Bay Seafood, Tanjung Bungah
Here, what we enjoy is the coconut milk based tomyam prawns and the cubes of deep fried red snapper fish and yam coated in thick, molasses-like sauce. Also, another must try here is the steamed stingray fish drenched in garlic, ginger and chilli sauce. They’re only open for dinner.
What we like here: Steamed stingray drenched in chilli, ginger and garlic sauce.
Weld Quay Restaurant, Pengkalan Weld
Practically eaten up by a huge tree, this little restaurant is considered a gem among the locals. Here, what we recommend is their Nestum-batter deep-fried prawns. This one’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser with both kids and adults. Pair that with their softshell crab coated in thin egg-batter with some white rice, and it’s ‘Ooh la la’! They’re open for both lunch and dinner.
What we like here: Minced-meat filled deep-fried cakoi.
Deep fried cakoi at Weld Quay Restaurant
Sea Pearl Lagoon Café, Tanjung Tokong
The secret to their success is the fact that they charcoal grill their seafood. The smokey flavour is unique and gives a memorable touch to the dishes of crabs and prawns they serve. To match these, try their steamed mussels and oyster omelette. You’ll be quite addicted. They’re open for lunch and dinner.
What we like here: Moist but not oily o-chien or oyster omelette
Restoran Asmara, Teluk Bahang
This humble restaurant by the roadside between the tail end of Batu Ferringhi and the beginning of Teluk Bahang serves what is caught fresh that day. It's perched atop the cliff overlooking the sea and fishermen boats docked for the day. There are two or three types of fish, prawns and squids, usually. Food here is cooked in the Malay style of fried seafood in sambal or grilled with tangy-spicy dipping sauce.This one is a halal place and stir-fried leafy greens such as kangkung in spicy sambal's really good here too.
What we like here: Grilled stingray slathered in sambal
Hollywood Restaurant, Tanjung Bungah
Located on the beach of Tanjung Bungah, it has a very nice view of the Floating Mosque. Besides seafood, they also offer Hainanese dishes such as roasted lamb and okra drenched in brown sauce. Although, what we like here is the mussels stir-fried in a thick, sweet, dark sauce that seems to grow thicker by the second (as it gets cold) and their truly fat crab spring rolls of generous filling rolled into paper thin, crispy skin. They’re open for both lunch and dinner.
What we (also) like here: Their very, very thick crab meat spring rolls.
Restoran Floating, Bukit Tambun
The simple, wooden structure of the restaurant is on stilts and ‘floats’ above a fresh water farm of fish and prawns. Deep fried fish slathered in spicy-sweet sauce is terrific here and so is their fried spring chicken. For a touch of exotic, they’ve got steamed spiky-shelled snails with eggs that results in an interesting, creamy flavour. They’re open for both lunch and dinner.
What we like here: Steamed garoupa steeping in assam laksa.
Fried fish at Restoran Floating
My Home Style Restaurant, Tanjung Bungah
Nestled within the housing area of Lembah Permai is this unassuming restaurant that offers a delicious dish of fried fish with light soya sauce and vermicelli noodles prettily draped over it. It’s a pretty sight and tastes just as good. Another one here is the slices of bitter gourd and half-boiled eggs dish that’s a total comfort food for many Chinese. This restaurant is only open for dinner.
What we like here: Empress Chicken that's boiled in broth with ingredients such as Chinese wine.